The Gerritsen Collection

illistration of woman with her fist up in the air

The WIU Libraries recently acquired access to "The Gerritsen Collection: Women's History Online, 1543-1945." This new full-text database provides unparalleled access to materials documenting women's history around the world.

In the late 1800s, Dutch physician Aletta Jacobs and her husband C.V. Gerritsen began collecting books and periodicals reflecting the evolution of a feminist consciousness and women's rights. By the time their successors finished their work in 1945, The Gerritsen Collection was the greatest single source for the study of women's history in the world, with materials spanning four centuries and fifteen languages.

"It is safe to say that no other collection in this country offers such resources for comparative studies of the feminist movement." - Anne Firor Scott, Duke University

The Gerritsen curators gathered more than 4,700 publications from continental Europe, the U.S., the United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand, dating from 1543-1945. The anti-feminist case is presented as well as the pro-feminist; many other titles present a purely objective record of the condition of women at a given time.

This online resource delivers two million page images exactly as they appeared in the original printed works. Users can trace the evolution of feminism within a single country, as well as the impact of one country's movement on those of the others. In many cases, it also provides easy access to primary sources otherwise available only in a few rare book rooms.

The ASCII text is searchable by keyword and Boolean operators, and records are linked to the corresponding page images, downloadable in Adobe PDF.